Thursday, October 28, 2010

Why We Don't Need Population Control: Criticisms and Responses

My article on population, originally posted as a facebook note, brought some interesting responses. The names of those who commented shall remain secret.

Comment: Very good points although I don't think it puts a focus on the Philippine context we have to acknowledge differences in cultures across countries. Yes lower population doesn't equal more wealth but don't you agree a high population that can...not be controlled by the government and cannot be provided for is a bad thing even in a economic standpoint. Lastly we have to understand simply adding to the workforce will not have a great increase to the economic pie to oversimplify this we can put this into the context of law of diminishing returns the more you add to the workforce with a limited set of capital the increase to productivity will be very small; take account of empirical data such as unemployment and poverty.

Yes I agree only through modernization of different economic sectors will the Philippines prosper but I believe we shouldn't put the burden to the gov't but to ourselves. (cause i have zero faith in the gov't :))) for what class is this???

My Response: An increased labor supply does mean lower wages. Ignoring licensing requirements, more doctors mean lower wages for all doctors. But this also means lower prices for medical services, which benefits us all. Moreover, economic value is subjective. Diamonds are not valuable because it is costly to mine them. We mine diamonds because they are valuable.

Further, there is as much demand for human labor as there are unfulfilled desires. It is a myth that jobs are limited and should be rationed by government. Primitive societies start off with agriculture and, with an increase in the population, increase in labor force. It doesn't mean they are worse off because now they can consume more as well. Eventually, the peasant farmers will move into new industries and fill demand for other services. It is a win-win situation.

If we take your assumption to be correct, then no civilization would have ever gotten out of subsistence agriculture.

Comment: the main argument for population control is the limited amount of resources we have to go about. Given your argument that production can only increase with an increase in labor input, whether manual or capital. However, you must also c...onsider the materials and resources needed for production. We may have the workforce necessary to produce 2,000,000 tonnes of food, but without the requisite resources we will not get very far. Let us take money out of the equation as money is merely an idea. All the money in the world cannot buy food when there is none to be bought.

You may argue that this threat to existence may force mankind to develop new technologies to look for resources elsewhere or to adapt biologically, thus moving us forward, but I will ask you - forward to what? It has been said that we are beings of infinite needs and wants living in a finite reality. More will only make us want more.

My Response: Let us assume you are correct. How is the RH Bill supposed to solved this problem? If having more children is advantageous to those living in rural areas, then they will not participate in the population control program. Hence, th...e RH Bill becomes another government boondoggle by creating a gigantic commission has no practical use.

Now to the main point. The law of scarcity in economics is often misunderstood. Mankind was more of a burden to nature 2000 years ago because they did not know how to transform nature-given goods efficiently. Cattle were hunted down and were replenished only by nature, unlike now with cattle farms that replenish the supply of cattle faster. Whereas it took 200 hectares of land to produce 200 tonnes of food before, now it only takes a tiny fraction of land to do that.

Also, the economically usable supply of resources today is far greater than that 1000 years ago because of technology. We can now mine in areas where it would be impossible to mine 100 years ago. And the economically usable supply of goods today is still a tiny fraction of nature's raw contribution since we are unable to mine in asteroids and stuff.

Yes, we do have infinite desires but that is the reason money and prices exist to help us decide what is best. If money and prices disappeared tomorrow, then no consumer goods will be left after a week and after several months, 90% of humanity will die off.

The price system, even in its debilitated state today, by guiding the activities of 6 billion people in an economically rational way, supports life.

Comment: Wait a second. Are you talking about "House Bill No. 5043 (Reproductive Health and Population Development Act of 2008)"?

Have you read it? There is nothing there about population control measures (at least in the way that you hint at). It is... about access to information and services related to reproductive health.

Setting aside the idea of needing more laws in the first place, what exactly is wrong with allowing people access to something?

My Response
: There are many reasons and it is indeed coercive in the same way as SSS and PhilHealth are. I'm surprised, I thought your siding with me on this issue.

1. Unnecessary (read article above)
2. Creates massive bureaucracy
3. No Certificate of Compliance, no marriage license(Sec 14)
4. Forces employer to pay (Sec 17)
5. Affirmative action law (I think you know how this works out) (Sec 17)

Statist Superstition

The typical statist believes:

- that government can suddenly change for the better despite deeply embedded financial interests
- that government is our friend and can give us free stuff that only the state can produce
- that 'we' are really the government and we don't have to worry about abuse since 'we' can change it the next election
- that government bureaucrats carry within them both the tacit knowledge and calculative ability necessary to allocate resources to their best uses
- that taxation is what we pay for to live in a civilized society (why not raise taxes more so we be more civilized?)
- that we have no natural rights which stem from our creator but only those signed into law by high-powered strangers
- that individuals can be greedy and evil and have to be monitored but once they enter into government they suddenly turn into virtuous and selfless men
- that politics is a sane and necessary part of society and NOT a brutal circus activity
- that politicians are NOT psychotherapeautically suspect
- that political campaigns can be worthwhile to pay attention to and are NOT the longest running bullshit marathon in history
- that congressmen, whose average net worth is 30 M (in 2001) actually gives a shit about the poor
- that politicians can be honest when an insignificant percentage of campaign promises in the history of politics were actually fulfilled
- that political parties reflect the differing opinions and ideologies of the populace instead of advocating a fundamentally statist agenda
- that the system that we live in is moral
- that the Philippines is a capitalist country instead of a statist one
- that democracy is the best form of government
- that voting works
- that capitalism is evil

What Bastiat Can Teach Us About Typhoon Juan

The Philippine Government has patted itself in the back for their ‘good’ performance in handling typhoon Juan. It is as if the government help is gratuitous and does not or did not incur any cost to the public when in fact paying taxes is an enormous cost to the public. The government also makes everyone less prepared and less responsible by promising security and stability. The standards by which they judge their own performance must also be questioned since the government is such a big and powerful organization. So before concluding ad hoc that the government ‘did well’ in managing typhoon Juan, it is helpful to consider the unseen effects of government interventionism.

Taxes on private capital – As illustrated in the Haiti earthquake, wealthier and more civilized societies are better able to defend against natural disasters than poorer societies because of better infrastructure, sturdier housing, higher quality medical care and technical expertise. All of these come from capital accumulation, therefore taxes on private capital remove individuals’ ability to defend against natural disasters.

Government mandated monopolization of electricity and water – Water and electricity companies that are not pressured by competition in the market are inefficient. In the event of a strong typhoon, having water and electricity could be a matter of life and death.

Building codes – To quote economist Robert Murphy,

“It’s more expensive to construct a building that can withstand an intense earthquake. Imposing US building codes in Haiti wouldn’t have saved hundreds of thousands of people; it would simply have made them homeless all these years.”

Same applies to Typhoon Juan

Relocation of informal settlers – The Philippine government relocates informal settlers near riverbanks and waterways and sites affected by government. These relocation programs are limited to land acquisition for the informal settler and do not account for the long term hence resulting in disaster. It is estimated that 700,000 of the 5 million informal settlers within Metro Manila live in danger zones. The poor who would rather live near where they go to work are forced to live in far off areas. One security guard and his family were relocated far from city where the security guard works and his children go to school. To make ends meet, the security guard now lives in a worker’s barracks to be close to work and only meets his family only twice a month. Most of the times, the relocation sites make the poor worse off because of the lack of jobs in the vicinity.

Zoning laws raise the cost of living, create sprawl, inhibit community building, and restrict small businesses - With zoning laws in place, the government mandates how plots of land are to be developed, not the individual. It creates inefficiency and attracts corruption. Land that might be better used for commercial purposes are classified as residential land hence making the price of commercial real estate higher than what it would have been. Local community-building is hampered since commercial interactions between neighbors are less likely to occur. If there were no zoning laws, then one probably wouldn’t need to drive downtown to go to a coffee shop or grocery store, there would be small coffee shops and grocery stores in the neighborhood. Zoning laws can be viewed as another barrier to entry in starting a business since one is limited in planning a good location. It is no doubt that zoning laws have negative effects on the poor. More on zoning here.

NFA uselessness – The National Food Authority is a totally useless organization that has wasted a huge amount of food stocks. Some facts gathered here:

- NFA has incurred a debt of Php 171.6 billion
- It costs them P5 for to give P1 of subsidy according the the Finance Secretary Purisima
- World Bank study estimates that only 27 percent of the poor have been fed by the NFA. Most of the subsidies have gone to people who did not need it or allegedly the wallets of enterprising NFA employees.
- In 2004, for instance, NFA bought 900,000 metric tons of rice as against the need of only 117,000 metric tons. Three years later, NFA again imported 1.827 million metric tons of rice against the need of just 589,000 metric tons.

Government, as Frederick Bastiat noted, is an institution which takes from us. Unfortunately, this idea is lost on most people who believe government is there to give free education, free health care, etc. The cost side of the equation must always be considered.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Immorality in US Public Health System

So much for the humane institution of public health. It so happens that the US government has been secretly conducting inhuman medical experiments on 696 helpless mentally ill Guatemalans, infecting them with syphilis without their consent. The mentality ill prisoners were infected by the drug in sometimes cowardly and despicable fashion by sending prostitutes into jail cells.

40 similar experiments were done in what is known as the 'dark chapter in American medical research' according to the yahoo article.

It is so easy for the likes of Hillary Clinton to apologize decades after the brutal crime happened and to a basket-case of a nation. It makes them appear like the kindhearted and wise overlords that they wipe their asses to look like. But of course this is just to feed their gigantic egos. If they were really sorry about the actions of the government in the past then they would have already quit and gotten a real job.

And what of the promise that there will no longer be such abuses because of stricter regulations? We must always view government as a monopoly firm. If one department of a firm --- say its health care department --- committed abuses and the corporation promised to impose regulations on its own department, would that be a reliable assurance? Of course not. Likewise, a government that self-regulates itself cannot assure that it will not commit such abuses again, especially when (unlike private business) they suffer no losses by doing so.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Why We Don't Need Population Control

Population has become a subject of heated debate during the past few years. Proponents of the Reproductive Health (RH) bill argue that the Philippines is becoming overpopulated and that it is undermining the public welfare. Everybody will partake less of the economic pie because resources, especially land is fixed. Neighboring Asian countries have enacted population control measures and are doing better than the Philippines, so therefore, higher per capita GDP must be because of population control measures! And in the name of sustainable development, the Philippine government must enact population control measures here. The idea is that lower population equals more wealth, and more happiness!

There are many problems with this sort of thinking, but to start off, we must remember that per capita GDP describes an aggregate, and does not describe the distribution of income throughout society. A hypothetical country wherein 90% are poor but 10% are extremely rich would still yield high per capita figures. More importantly, a lower population does not imply that everybody gets a little bit more. Economic demand is not constituted solely by desire, but by desire plus purchasing power. An infinite desire to have a BMW does not mean infinite demand. Demand only exists where there is purchasing power accompanying desire. If the population of the Philippines were reduced by 1/3, the poor would not be any better financially. If we assume that the 1/3 that disappeared were part of the labor force, then society would be worse off because there would be less productivity. Division of labor is compromised making goods and services less available and more expensive.

The concept to grasp here is Say's Law, named after classical liberal economist Jean Baptiste Say. A farmers supply of wheat excess of what he consumes constitutes his demand for all other goods. You first need to produce in order to consume. A lower population means less productive labor, and hence less ability to consume.

On the individual level, the population of your country says nothing about the quality of life you can achieve. If you want to better your lot in life then you work, you take part in the division of labor. The more people take part in the division of labor, the more the specialization, and the more efficient wealth creation becomes for everybody.

The market system is not a zero-sum game. If you want to consume then you have to produce, you have to add to the economic pie. Prices determine what you must produce and what to consume. Prices of labor or wages guide people in getting jobs, as with prices for other items. The only thing government can do is impede this process and create more consumers than producers, as most Western welfare schemes, by subsidizing the unemployed. They have changed the rules of the game. For now you can earn an income and consume goods without working, ignoring the Biblical tenet "For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: If a man will not work, he shall not eat."(2 Thessalonians 3:10)

It is vain to take the collectivistic approach and deal with charts and figures rather than real, living, changing economic agents at the ground level who are unique and make different choices. The government simply cannot look at population growth charts, compare them with population charts with other countries, and ex post facto come to a conclusion that will lead to the creation of another corrupt bureaucracy.

Empirical evidence does not warrant the claims of the population controllers. Hong Kong, Monaco, and Singapore are ranked in the top five in population density yet those three countries are also among the top ten in terms of per capita GDP. At the other end of the list, it is the poorest countries that have the lowest population density. Countries like Congo, Mozambique, Mali, and Zambia. It is important to note that just because less population does not equal more wealth for everybody, does not mean more population necessarily means more wealth for everybody. It is only when the productive worker or entrepreneur produces more than he consumes, or in the act of saving, that he can benefit society the most. The point is that in order to have high population numbers, there must be, or must have been a good workforce and capital goods enough to support it.

Poor Southeast Asian and Latin American countries have a large portion of their labor force in the agricultural sector where many working hands are needed. Large family sizes make good financial sense in the context of rural life. Children in rural areas are viewed as assets in the financial sense because they contribute to the family income at a young age. Urban families have less children because children are viewed as 'liabilities', their education and various other consumption items unavailable to rural children are expenses of the family. So contrary to the claims of the population controllers, having many children are actually good for rural families. And how could they not be? Rural folks do not mindlessly produce more children without weighing the costs and benefits. Families in the rural area are just as responsible as those in the cities. Or maybe the political establishment thinks differently?

The truth is that the poverty of the Filipino people have nothing to do with population. The Philippines is suffering because of the government interventionism hampering the market process and a majority that refuses to recognize and accept the inherent evil of state coercion.

Side notes:

If the goal is to reduce population numbers as such, then capital accumulation, particularly, machination and modernization of the agricultural sector is key. In the agricultural areas, the benefits of having children surpass the benefits of not having children. The solution is to reverse this. By making it unnecessary for agriculture to be labor intensive, labor will move to higher paying industrial and service-oriented sectors where children will not be needed on the fields and can be sent to school. And the only way this can happen is to get the government out of agriculture, out of fertilizer subsidies, import quotas and customs fees for agricultural commodities, out of the provision of irrigation, out of crop insurance, but that is another topic for another day.

I will be forever dumbfounded by the silly attitude of the political establishment in accusing lack of education for the alleged overpopulation of the country. This is typical leftist blame the victim mentality. For who, in fact is educating the masses of the people, the freakin' government is!

If you sincerely believe in reducing population growth for whatever reason, you can do it the moral way by spending your OWN money to buy condoms and distribute to people. Voting on other peoples' property just to serve an unfounded belief (look at sources) is wrong and is why the government can get away with a lot of horrible acts. Statism is just so easy to subscribe to. No down-payment required.


Friday, September 17, 2010

Jueteng, Rural Banks, Politics

The topic of the inquirer article in the link is about jueteng money being transacted by rural banks. According to Vicente Mendoza, Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines(RBAP) executive director,

“Rural banks are at the forefront of countryside development and it is not our desire to be used in jueteng activities. Rural Banks strictly comply with BSP [Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas], PDIC [Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp.], and AMLA [Anti-Money Laundering Council] regulations,”

The first issue here is the ability of rural banks to help poor people in the countryside. Rural banks are mandated to offer financial services to those whom are not served by larger banks. Given this, it would make no sense to restrict the rural banks from having a larger pool of loanable funds. By not allowing jueteng money to be deposited in rural banks through the ‘anti-money laundering’ laws, development in the countryside is forestalled.

Secondly, there is really no rational basis for such ‘anti-money laundering’ laws to exist. Even taking the assumption that government has the right to stop gambling activities of its choosing, such laws will not help to stop jueteng operations. It will only create uncertainty for the subscribers of jueteng, mostly poor people, and might even empower the black market by creating a demand in it for the handling of such winnings. Then there’s the moral problem, for ‘anti-money laundering’ laws are a heinous attack on privacy. Giving the government the power to monitor commercial transactions means giving it the power to investigate your work and even your home. Such a loose framework for the state to work on opens so many opportunities for the predatory state to abuse its power.

Lastly, jueteng as a gambling activity is in no way fundamentally different from all other gambling activities, and its voluntary status makes it immoral for the government to control or abolish it. Regardless of personal reservations upon the matter, jueteng is beneficial to those who have voluntarily subscribed to it. To quote the great one Ludwig von Mises,

“Since nobody is in a position to substitute his own value judgments for those of the acting individual, it is vain to pass judgment on other people's aims and volitions. No man is qualified to declare what would make another man happier or less discontented.”

There are also unintended consequences in criminalizing jueteng. Like all other commodities or activities with high demand, a government ban on such activity would create a black market where violence is included in the medium of transaction. Barbarism is introduced and norms of practices of civil commerce like contracts, arbitration and knowledge sharing are removed. Government prohibitionism is a war against man’s ability to choose and since it undermines economic freedom, it is also a war against prosperity.

But then there’s the political dimension to all of this. The reason why jueteng will not be legalized, at least in the near future, is because the Philippine police and politically-connected rascals and mafia lords will not be able cartelize the profitable game. They get so much in bribes and in payoffs in keeping this game illegal and hence will fight to keep it illegal. It is no surprise that Noynoy is lenient on discussing the topic. This issue is just another reminder of the sad reality of politics and why nothing ever changes in government except when it is in the government’s interest.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Obamacare Blowback

*Image taken from

*This article is also a reaction to the linked yahoo news article

This illustration indicates the rate increase attributable to Obamacare. However, we must not forget that rate increases not specifically attributable to Obamacare are the result of government hyper-regulation nonetheless.

First time I saw this article I told myself 'What do you expect!?!'. No rational and decent person would want to participate in a corrupt welfare scheme, which is really what this is, it has nothing to do with insurance. In fact, government has completely destroyed the idea of health insurance long before Obamacare was enacted. There can only be insurance where insurance companies can create groupings and sub-groupings of classes. In order to do this, they have to --- wait for it --- discriminate! Suppose insurance company X has a number of professional boxers and economists as clients. They would of course have to segregate the two groups. The professional boxer has to pay a higher insurance premium because his risk of injury is much higher than that of the economist, more importantly, he has to be pooled together with other boxers while the economist has to be pooled together with other economists. Putting the two groups in one pool will amount to a redistribution scheme as the economist has to pay a higher premium, subsidizing the boxers he is being pooled with.

A rule of thumb when it comes to insurance is that events under the control of individuals are not insurable. There is really no such thing as car insurance since the physical condition of a car falls under the responsibility of its owner. No insurance company would offer car insurance since they will incur losses because of clients taking advantage of car insurance. This rule is also the reason why so -called government 'unemployment insurance' creates more unemployment. The government has created, in the realm of health care, a scheme similar to having insurance on the loss of sales ---- it is that ludicrous!

Here are a few actual examples of what modern health insurance in America is like:

- insurance coverage for alcoholism
- insurance coverage for drug addiction
- insurance coverage for psychological problems
- insurance coverage for body transplants (liver and heart)
- insurance coverage for hair loss
- allocation of funds to sperm banking
- allocation of funds to social workers
- insurance companies cannot ask what lifestyle people lead
- no genetic tests

It is obvious that health care insurance in the United States even before Obamacare is really just a fraudulent redistribution scheme creating perverse incentives that will make a population less healthy and more degenerate. It is therefore no surprise why so many Americans do not have health insurance for the simple reason that they did not want to pay high premiums to subsidize sickness, recklessness and degeneracy and in the process creating more of such. It is proven that the main reason for Americans being 'uninsured' is this voluntary refusal. About one third of the 'uninsured' in America are illegal immigrants, who do not have the means to pay for hyper-regulated health coverage owing their poor beginnings.

Obamacare further destroys application of sound actuarial science and economic calculation by expanding the problems stated above. Unfortunately, the blowback from government intervention will only cause a ratchet effect, inducing more government intervention and controls in the health care industry.

Whereas it is cheaper and more rational for a person to just pay the penalty in the current version of Obamacare, I have a feeling that the US administration will try to abolish this option and create a full socialist health care system in the future.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Views on Libertarian Amoralism or Moral Non-cognitivism

Cyberspace is a deep ocean to explore. Even an ideology composed of a very small minority of politicos and young philosophers in the world like libertarianism can branch out into many subcategories if one is searches long enough. Looking through several forums and websites, I have found out ideological cousins of libertarianism that are quite weird and extreme even for the most hardcore Rothbardians in the Austro-libertarian tradition.

I label them as the moral non-cognitivists, the Stirnerites, the Nietzschans and post-Rothbardians. These individuals base their beliefs on the works of a diverse range of intellectual influences such as Anthony de Jasay, Max Stirner, Friedrich Nietzche, Edmund Burke, Micheal Oakeshott, Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, Robert Nisbet, Ayn Rand and Ludwig von Mises. Some of them contend that Ludwig von Mises was a moral non-cognitivist at least in his economic work. That he strove to separate economics from morality and to create a value-free economics. That is why they adapt the same Misesian economics of the Austrian school. However, their ideology is not limited to pure economics and critical reason (in the traditional sense, that is deductive) but encompasses the cultural and sociobiological aspect of society.

Voluntarism is something heavily criticized because of its basis in natural rights. A liberal individualist order with private arbitration and defense agencies are fantasies because statism is firmly rooted in the sociobiology of man. Power relations, social hierarchy, and tribalistic urges are in favor of government. Voluntary membership into government is inefficient for everybody in the long run because of rigid norms and social convention. The basic contention is, government is a fact of civilization.

For the post-Rothbardians, voluntarism is based purely on deductive reasoning and economics and that the dynamics of society cannot be explained by solely by such means. Thus they employ the determinism of biology and psychology and are methodological collectivists. Voluntarism has a narrow view of the state in that it views the state mostly as a physically coercive institution which happens to be approved by the public. For them, morality is also a kind of statism in that it imposes certain obligations and duties. Moralists, according to them, are most likely to be statists and that there is a stark difference between an anarchist who reached the same conclusion because of morality and one who reached it because of utility maximizing calculation.

There are certainly a lot of things that can be said about these individuals and their philosophy but unfortunately I am limited in rhetorical ability to expound more about them from my research. Nonetheless I shall attempt to refute this grandiose and alien philosophy through the logical reasoning that they so dismiss as unsatisfactory.

First, arguing ethics with one who eschews ethics is useless as the purpose of ethics is dispute resolution. Trying to settle a dispute with one who does not want to settle a dispute is futile. Also, the fact that these moral non-cognitivists boisterously argue on various forums shows their performative contradiction. If some amoralist initiates an argument against me and I ignore him, if he then comes to me and expresses his indignation then he is really not an amoralist. It is interesting how argumentation ethics is dismissed as too much of a shortcut or philosophical gibberish by the usual critics but so useful against those intellectuals --- or wannabe intellectuals --- who dig deep into this mumbo jumbo.( Yet focusing on the ultra-abstract to the point of incomprehension is exactly how modern sociologists and can intellectually intimidate and strengthen the argument from authority -- which is a fallacy -- in promoting cultural marxism and social democracy)

Secondly, the amoralists are willing to reject the non-aggression principle on the basis that man has to be obedient and assimilate himself into civilization. Total independence and freedom of man would mean that the worst men have the freedom to be a nuisance to the social fabric so therefore, paternalistic violence is necessary. The amoralists do not realize that they are the ones violating this principle by accepting a position that is completely out of touch with social norms. I could well argue that amoralism is a nuisance to the social fabric and is pareto negative because it is very remote and alien to the common man.

Third, I would argue that moralism is sociobiological and that man has always had morality. Morality will always exist because it is 'psychologically economical'.

I don't really know what purpose these amoralists have in accepting and popularizing their position. I surmise that a moral non-cognitivist position is mere intellectual stimulation. I am perfectly contented to remain a 'statist' in the sense that I follow a moral code that helps me live my life and interact with other people.

Note: I do not think that one can combine disciplines of study such as sociobiology and economics to formulate a blueprint of social dynamics. That is the reason why the term methodological dualism was coined by Ludwig von Mises. By trying to combine, the subject in question seem to attempt to incorporate sociobiology and cultural notions into the ontological structure, in a sense adding a layer of determinism in their ideology. But philosopher and logician Kurt Godel asserted that any body of knowledge, even one such as mathematics, can never be perfect since they are ultimately a product of human fabrication. Even the postulates of mathematics are ultimately rooted in human experience and cognition. Similarly, Rothbard admitted that even a priori deductive laws of economics are ultimately experiential. Human action exists in a historical medium and is perceived in history. All scientific systems are like a Godelian trap, the question is, which is most effective in explaining society, or at least economic phenomena? I am ever more convinced of the strength of Misesian economics and Rothbard-Hoppe ethical theory.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

'Public' Intellectuals and the Calculation Problem Applied to Public Schools

The Alliance of Intellectuals and the State

Modern professional intellectuals in general, and especially those employed in tax-funded schools, are begotten to the state apparatus because it is the source of their income. Even in so-called private universities, the curricula are still determined by the state through various directives so that change and innovation are sacrificed. Your professors might not explicitly advocate left-statism, but indoctrination is never overt. Modern sociology for example, promotes a class division in society by slicing and dicing it into many warring factions. For them, there is always one class exploiting the other. Men are exploiting women, whites exploiting blacks, rich exploiting poor, Christians exploiting Muslims. In doing this they serve to perpetuate the class division that they sought to erase. A foremost Filipino historian once wrote that historians are, by default, marxists with a small ‘m’. Without a philosophy grounded in reality and knowledge in sound (Austrian) economics, historians tend to draw interpretations out of the air because they do not have the proper methodology to identify real cause-effect relationships. I am not saying their facts are wrong, but only the interpretation. In a free market, competition in the provision of education will promote change and improvement, intellectuals will have to keep up to new ideas lest their human capital go down, and hence their wages. In a free market, wages of intellectuals are determined just like wages for computer engineers and construction workers, on the basis of merit. In a statist school system, career success of intellectuals depends on how close you are to the state. Survival means you have to accept statist premises. Since justifying government depredations into our everyday life is easier than open debate and intellectual change, intellectuals naturally ally with the state.

Calculation Problem Applied to Tax-funded Education

Even if the government were filled with angels, government would still create shortages and dismal quality of services. The problem with government is not intellectual, it is not psychological, it is not the character of government officials, the problem with government is economic calculation.

Government can put children into classrooms, arrange a curricula, hire teachers, build school structures, fix number of hours for schooling, make students answers tests and read textbooks. All those the government can do. What the government cannot do is educate. Let me explain. First of all, today’s school curricula and teaching methods are decided on by the arbitrary whims of the bureaucrat. No matter how intelligent and experienced the bureaucrat is, he does not have an objective basis for his decision making. He can never know what tens of millions of unique Filipinos really want and need. How can tens of millions of Filipinos’ valuations be aggregated and be made useful? Only through the price mechanism. Price is the objective expression of countless peoples’ subjective valuations. The only way to make sure school curricula and teaching methods correspond to what skills Filipinos really need is through the market process itself. Free market education is superior to government education because free market education systems are coordinated by the price mechanism. This is opposed to education wherein FEW bureaucrats decide. The difference is between the knowledge of millions of education consumers and the knowledge of few pompous bureaucrats.

My Defense of Capitalism Against A Red

Let's start with the definition of free market. Free market just means a system wherein people voluntarily exchange their own goods in the absence of (state) coercion. For this to happen, there has to be acknowledged private property rights.

So from the above definition there cannot possibly be anything wrong with a free market because there is nothing wrong with voluntarily supplying and exchanging goods. In contrast to this natural social order of capitalism that needs no enforcement, socialism which is broadly defined by forced redistribution of property titles needs physical force of the state to succeed. This clearly violates natural law and therefore is immoral. The real problem is your view of the free market. You think it's about corporations exploiting laborers, ravaging the earth, and causing mass social inequality and poverty when in fact what we have is a neoliberal fascistic system.

Let's now go on to the monopoly problem. A firm gains profit and grows in a free market by giving value to the consumer. So if a firm grows very large, it just means it is successful in giving value to the consumer(and as a corollary employed lots of people and given high wages). So no one should really worry about corporate growth in a free market.

Monopolies by definition cannot exist in a free market because the free market by definition is characterized by free entry in the production of goods in addition to the fact that nobody is talented enough to have all the market share. Some anomalies to this are DeBeer and the New York Stock Exchange but the NYSE now takes government assistance. Monopolies can only exist because of government special privileges and corporate welfare and subsidies and most especially anti-trust laws. If you take a look at the anti-trust cases in America, it will be very clear to you that large firms are the ones that usually file them against their younger, smaller competitors. This is what creates a monopoly. US agribusiness like Monsanto receive 40% of their income through government subsidies. When you think about it and start from first principles and then integrate all the facts there is no doubt that what we have is NOT a free market.

Lastly, you said that monopolies would emerge because of mercenary recruitment and training of private armies. Go back to the definition of free market. It's a system where force is absent. So if a corporation hires a private army to attack its competitors, that is exactly the antithesis of a free market. In contrast, government itself functions entirely by means of force through taxation. Government defined as a territorial monopolist of law, order and ultimate decision making is the ULTIMATE PRIVATE ARMY and MONOPOLY!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Leftist Politics and Hacienda Luisita

Recently there have been talks of a compromise deal between the peasants and the legal owners of Hacienda Lusita. As it turns out, the peasants prefer stock distribution options over ownership of the physical land itself. Meanwhile, leftists all around are astounded at the peasants' decision. They just cannot fathom that the peasants would simply compromise in fighting for land that was worth blood fighting for. In other words, the leftists cannot believe that the peasants' wishes are actually different from THEIR wishes and THEIR politics.

The peasants of Hacienda Luisita just want to live in peace just like they were before the leftists came in and radicalized them, inflated their minds with grand ambitions and sinister anticapitalist sentiment. The peasants involved in Hacienda Luisita were content in earning an income by tilling a land not their own. Of course, the leftists do not understand this, for when they look at the poor peasants all they can think of is how 'exploited' they are. Society is an arena of conflict where the rich are always exploiting the poor, males are always exploiting females, whites are always exploiting the blacks, etc. In doing this they are the ones perpetuating the tension which they zealously seek to alleviate. Nitpicking and minding other peoples' business is what the left is all about. One can just imagine how self-righteous and arrogant they are to identify themselves with peasants in Hacienda Luisita and recommend politics as the solution to a 'problem' that the peasants never knew they had.

I hope the Hacienda Luisita compromise deal will be an rude awakening for leftists in the Philippines. I hope they become embarrassed in thinking that they know better than the people who actually have substantial interest in the matter. I hope they become sorry for the anguish and suffering that they have rendered unto the Hacienda Luisita farmers.

And yes, they have done harm to the peasants. Agrarian reform has done much more harm than good to the people it is designed to help. Make no mistake about it!

What are these harms done?

1. Politically-charged murders of peasants by hired assassins of the landowners
2. Mass conversion of agricultural land to industrial and residential land
3. Stagnant agricultural sector due to no additional capital investment for fear of land expropriation

But aren't I being too extreme in blaming leftist politicians and activists for something not intended by them? No! Political actions have unintended consequences.
Whether intended or not, and even if harm to the peasants was indirectly caused by leftist politics, those three enumerated above would never have happened without Marxist relgiosity infecting innocent farmers. Intentions don't matter, results do. Land reform activists and politicians should be jailed for what they have done!

Stop Defending the "National Image"!!!

I am disgusted of the fact that there are Filipinos who want to defend the actions of the Philippine government in handling the Manila hostage tragedy vis-a-vis talking with foreigners. These assclowns want to protect our 'national image' and 'national pride' by being apologizers for the state. I would like to ask these retards how exaclty does that improve any Filipino's lot in a substantial way, except make them ready to let go of the government's crimes and totally hand over their safety to the police thugs.

A person I know of is going to fly abroad and is actually preparing defenses for when curious foreigners ask about the terrible hostage crisis and the Philippine government. What he should do is berate and smear the Philippine government in front of foreigners. There's no reason to sacrifice individual pride to so-called 'national pride' which is merely an artifice used to sedate the childish and weak-minded. I remember the words of H.L. Mencken in saying that 'every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under'. How true for our times! Decades of heavy bureaucracy, politicized media stupidity and democratic propaganda have actually created a culture that is overly tolerant of the abuses of power, esteem-lowering, self-shaming, miseducated beyond the ability to reason, docile sheep!!!People who want to apologize for evil governments are subsidizing evil by excusing the government of its criminality.

There are actually some who are intelligent enough to know that the Philippine government is unsalvageable but continue to preach the gospel of 'democracy' and 'good governance' on the basis that 'pag-asa nalang ang natitira sa atin bakit mo pa iyan sirain'. While somewhat understandable, they do not realize that the dream has to come to an end and the longer you prolong the dream the worst the end is.The idea that we need to preserve hope in the hopeless is a result of the moral relativism and postmodernist bullcrap prevalent in the universities. If only these 'uplifters of spirits' looked at the facts --- say --- the national debt--- they will realize that they are doing a great evil by perpetuating a sick fantasy.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The More Fundamental Issue Behind the Manila Hostage Tragedy

What happened on August 23, 2010 near the Quirino Grandstand was just the most pronounced illustration of government incompetence, thuggery and cowardice seen in a long time. To think that the bus hijacker in this case, Rolando Mendoza, was a former police and awarded as one of the top ten policemen at that, is just mind-boggling and says a lot about the Philippine government in general.

Every aspect of the tragedy from negotiations to the assault to the media to the actions (or inaction) of the president was just an epic failure and deserving of a national face palm.

The main motivation of Mendoza's hijacking of the bus centered around government in the first place. Mendoza together with other killbots in the Philippine National Police were making a lot of money out of extortion in artificial checkpoints. Mendoza felt threatened when he learned about a chef named Christian Kalaw and other victims of extortion told the authorities. So like a typical thug he went to Mr. Kalaw and falsely accused him of illegal parking and taking drugs. The indignant Kalaw demanded a drug test so the state thugs took him to the public hospital where they beat him up and made him swallow shabu before letting him take the drug test. Kalaw was jailed and only released after his fried gave P20,000 to the police.

A year later and after many dismissed proceedings, Mendoza was finally removed from his position by the Ombudsman, but was removed without due process and without his retirement benefits.

These events led to the bus hijacking on August 23, 2010. It is important to note that the hostage tragedy was the result of government 'blowback' from its own operations. First, the government for the longest time has tolerated having thugs in the police force even though corruption and brutality in the PNP is common knowledge. Second, the government acted irresponsibly by releasing this highly trained and well-armed criminal into the open, and released him hungry, that is, without retirement benefits. When you find a criminal you put the criminal in jail, you don't just relieve him of his duties. I guess it works differently in government. The quote below is taken from a respectable blog named 'Dona Victorina'.

"Before this hostage taking, I remember asking my friend in the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) why these rogue policemen were being kept on the force (they were first suspended and even considered being shipped to Mindanao). He told me it was better to keep them within the police where their actions can be “controlled.” If they are no longer policemen then, he said, they will be more uncontrollable as criminals."

And my guess is right. We cannot overemphasize the blame that the government deserves for this.

Let us now move on to the blunders of the government in handling this tragedy that it itself created.

1. The brother of the hostage-taker, Gregorio Mendoza, was denied his first request to talk to the hijacker.

2. The media televised the actions taken by the authorities in response to the crime, and gave Mendoza a tactical advantage since the bus had a television in place.

3. Mendoza's brother was shown to be arrested (and harassed) by the police on national television which made Mendoza shoot people on the bus out of fury.

4. The authorities did not acquiesce, at least partially and superficially, to the demands of Mendoza which made the struggle last for eleven hours.

5. The president, the proud protector and servant of the people, could not be contacted by Hong Kong officials and ,as if quite leisurely, delegated the task to local authorities.

The result is nine people dead (including the perpetrator) and national shame. The communists in Mindanao must have gotten a kick out of watching this event unfold on television.

Of course the likelihood of these crimes happening would be very low if people were allowed their natural right to protect themselves. That is, if they could be allowed to bear arms. Without gun control, thugs like Mendoza would think twice before entering a busload of potential gun-carriers.

But no, we have to rely on the police for our safety because guns placed in private hands runs the risk of increased crime and immorality. Only the police are responsible and wise enough to carry guns. Well apparently this thesis has been proven totally wrong by recent events.

The bus tragedy maybe represents a new high for governmental failure but the lesson that it teaches is not new: government does not work. Which is why I am still dumbfounded by leftists advocating socialist health care and socialist education in spite of all its failures in more basic tasks like defense and road building. If the government cannot do its most basic task of protecting the people, how can it do more difficult tasks.

How can the police protect society from crime and immorality if the police is itself the most criminal agency of government?

A more fundamental question would be 'what causes crime and immorality in the first place?' The answer: increased politicization of society causes crime and immorality to flourish. You expect this to happen when the power gap between the ordinary citizen and the police is so big that the police can get away with false accusations and torture . You expect this to happen when you create the largest bureaucracy in the form of the PNP. You expect this to happen when citizens are dependent sheeple living in a dream who think social change can happen by electing a new president.


Monday, August 2, 2010

Favorite Jefferson Quotes

"The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers."

"The moment a person forms a theory, his imagination sees in every object only the traits which favor that theory."

"There is a natural aristocracy among men. The grounds of this are virtue and talents."

"Whenever you do a thing, act as if all the world were watching."

"Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear."

"In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock."

"A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine."

"A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned - this is the sum of good government."

"There is not a truth existing which I fear or would wish unknown to the whole world"

"I swear upon the altar of God, eternal hostility to every form of tyranny over the mind of man."

Beginner to Intermediary Reading List

Books and websites that refute leftist professors a million times over. This is the intellectual ammunition that the youth need if we are to stave off despotism from finalizing in the Philippines.

Important websites:

Easily the best economics website in the world. Make this your homepage! :D

Confronting the United States Predatory Interventionism

Books on Philosophy:

"The Virtue of Selfishness" by Ayn Rand

Rand's most important contribution to philosophy, a rational ethics.

'Atlas Shrugged'
and 'The Fountainhead' both by Ayn Rand

"The Ethics of Liberty" by Murray N. Rothbard

Social ethics applied

Free books on economics and political economy:

"Economics in One Lesson" by Henry Hazzlit

The easiest and surest way to understand economics

"The Law" by Frederic Bastiat

No genuinely liberal education is complete without having read Frederic Bastiat

"The Road to Serfdom" by F.A. Hayek

What you need to learn about political economy

"A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism" by Hans Hermann Hoppe

Analyzes all political-economic systems and proves capitalism as best

"What Has Government Done To Our Money" by Murray N. Rothbard

Easiest way to understand money

"Man vs. The Welfare State" by Henry Hazzlit

Welfare state is the wet dream of the democratic left. They will hate this.

Go. Speak truth. Love Freedom.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

My Heated Debate with a Statist

Statist: free market fixes everything always! not into religious dogma thanks. my beliefs don't require faith

Me: What do you believe in then? Politicians who can solve every social problem by signing a law and shooting/imprisoning people who don't comply? Government programs that require taxing you more, printing more money, enslaving your children through debt? Hoping that we can finally get the 'right' guy into office to work for us? Spending more money on programs that already have bloated bureaucracies. And you accuse me of taking my beliefs on faith?!? WTF!

Statist: gross assumption alert. believing in corrupt corporatist & political figures is not the same as believing in the capacity of people in general and society to make good eventually.

Me: I believe in people. I believe in people free to own and trade property. Free to contract, associate and disassociate, to keep the fruits of their labor. It is absurd to think that in order for people to make good we have to elect people to steal from us to spend on things that benefit the 'common good'. If you believe in people doing good then why does your system need to initiate force(taxation) to accomplish its goals????

Statist: i believe in electing ppl to steal from us? where do u get this stuff? when you're done building straw men, and just so u understand, believing that the free market is equivalent to some kind of natural force that always comes good in the end is to not believe in people per se, but in the system. That you'd be unaware of the implications of your own position is amusing

Me: Yes, taxation is robbery and liberty IS the natural position of man. Most of the social problems in the world today are the result of forced collectivization of resources and redistribution of wealth. And I never said free market always comes good in the end but am firmly convinced that it can produce the most humane society. I'm assuming your a social democrat. I was like that before until I realized how naive it is. I suggest you learn and be open minded before making accusations.

Me: Saying that I believe in a system rather than people is a fallacious attempt of evading the issue. I am sure you don't even know what your talking about when you say 'implications of the system'. You probably mean free market exploits the poor, pollutes the environment, produces bad body odor, etc. I heard all of it. Its what statists do when they run out of arguments and that typically happens rather fast. Only a free market libertarian position is logical and complies with reality.

Statist: You have no idea what position I hold since all that I have told u is that the free market most certainly does not solve all, and I'm glad u admitted as much, since it does undermine your earlier assertion of: "The best regulation is through competition". Anti-regulation = faith in the free market to do the right thing. A collection of self serving corporate heads spout this nonsense then the little man laps it up. Get the little man to fight against his best interests! Keep going

Statist: "Only a free market libertarian position is logical and complies with reality" - what if u are deluded? you gave faith in people's adherence to the profit motive eventually working out well for people and the environment. It's faith, since a heavy stack of evidence points to the contrary. It's funny that I should be having this debate with someone who's just seen the god-damn documentary. It's like when Bush goes to Ivy league school and his obstinacy protects his ignorance. Bravo

Me: Ok now you stopped giving arguments. Typical statist, you can't win through logic so they insult people. Did you know that it wasn't the 'proletariat' who first espoused socialism? It was a small group of intellectuals who were ignorant of economics. You better learn some Austrian/free market economics soon, its for your own good. Especially if you live in the US or places like Greece.

Me: "It's faith, since a heavy stack of evidence points to the contrary"

I'm guessing you think of the (current) depression or poverty of third world countries as 'heavy stack of evidence'. Again, you clearly don't know what you are talking about if you think this.

Me: "It's funny that I should be having this debate with someone who's just seen the god-damn documentary"

Seeing the documentary made me realize how hopeless social democracy is. The 'ordinary man' will never be able to control government, only those with political connections(corporations) will. The ordinary man will never get laws administered the way he wants it administered. The government passes a flood of legislation every year that serve the special interests. Socdem is hopeless.

Statist: it made u realise how hopeless representative democracy is. read up about direct democracy and how many of the problems associated with electing dictators every 4 years would disappear

Statist: u need to stop assuming and then attacking an assumption that u yourself made up. Examples of how prioritising profits over people leads to injustice: Sweat shop labourers who get paid 13c an hour to make products sold for hundreds of dollars, wage slavery, massey energy mine where umpteen miners died due to cost saving measures that excluded safety measures, Cost saving measures at BP lead to destruction of natural habitat, Monsanto selling modified crop seeds that self destruct

Statist: Pharmaceutical companies investing R&D resources in profitable but needless avenues such as male hereditary baldness, rather than curing preventable life threatening diseases in Africa. Automotive industry fought the inception of seat belt regulation on the basis that it would eat into their profit margins, Military industrial complex /war for profit, Profit incentive to dump waste product into oceans rather than pay for waste management, ConAgra selling tainted beef (lower cost)

Me: Direct democracy is what the US has in electing the president and what we have here in the Philippines. If there is one thing you learn in high school it is that the crap always rises to the top when it comes to popularity contests. Democracy is a popularity contest. You need good looks, oratory, deception, bribery to get to the top. Just google Barack Obama if you don't believe me.

Me: Sweat shop laborers earn twice what they get paid in local businesses. Miners went into that job VOLUNTARILY and knew the risks. Who are you to deny them that choice by threatening the company with fees leading them to close shop. You think BP wanted oil spill to happen? BP is biggest loser in that issue yet people like you want to pounce on them and make them pay fines in addition to damages and commercial losses. Oil spills happen due to human IMPERFECTION.

Me: Monsanto gets massive amounts of government subsidies and so does big pharma. They take advantage of unfair IP regulation. I applaud automotive industry for fighting against seatbelt regulation. Who are you to force people to wear seatbelt. MICmplex is funded by government and therefore part of government. ConAgra should pay for damages if US government respected property rights. So far you have conflated horrible things to be a byproduct of capitalism....

Me: continuation.. which is why you are against it, and understandably so. But again, you have proven that you do not believe in people, you think people are stupid by not allowing them to make choices. Sweatshop workers, miners VOLUNTARILY made that choice because they think it is better than the alternatives. You think you know better so you deny them that choice, therefore you are the one who doesn't believe in people. Labor groups in Bangladesh already acknowledge that w/o sweatshops...

Me: continuation.. young girls have no choice but become prostitutes. They do it because w/o the money, their family will starve. Americans, especially the middle class, take for granted their prosperity as a given, not knowing their ancestors had to go through that hardship. But now you know, so why do you deny these poor countries the first steps toward prosperity? I assure you there is nothing the state can do to ease this process and make it faster.

Me: REMINDER: I do not support the large corporations presented in the documentary. I am just saying that being against these corporations means you are actually FOR capitalism since they would not have these advantages(gov't franchises, subsidies, land concessions, IP laws) without government blessings. The difference between you and me is that you solve problems by adding a flood of legislation to counter the previous flood of legislation instead of repealing the legislation favoring evil.

Statist: capitalism prioritises the profit margin above people + environment. I wish u could absorb that which has been shown over and over. Sweatshop labourers could lead a more dignified existence with subsistence farming than working for 13c an hour creating things the company sells for hundreds of dollars. It's an imbalance and you don't want to see it. BP wanted to cut costs on safety measures and keep all their oil. They couldn't do both but they tried and now people + environment pay

Statist: i can't believe u tried to justify the corporate fight against seatbelts. u must really wish harm upon people rather than do harm upon your own insidious ideology. U said i don't trust people earlier, nothing could be further from the truth, since I don't trust individuals within corporations who try to externalise the cost of everything they do making the rest of us pick up the tab

Statist: The USA is ideologically a representative democracy, not a direct democracy. Look to dictionary definitions. The reality however is that of corporatism.

Me: "Sweatshop labourers could lead a more dignified existence with subsistence farming". Just like I said, you think you know better than the sweatshop laborer.
"BP wanted to cut costs...and now people + environment pay " BP's oil is their property, they have the right to do what they want with it, and no, BP is biggest loser in the oil spill and you pounce on them just because you can. Sorry, but I get the impression you are one of those rich college students who is ignorant of economics

Me: Your right . America's founders intended it to be a republic but then socialist thought took over the universities and spouted lies about how democracy is the best system. So US now is practically a direct democracy. I only wish you be open minded about free market economics and stop immediately condemning people as exploiters. Do you really think I like to watch sweatshop workers? People aren't as bad as you think they are you know.

Me: The documentary actually tries to be objective. It presents the facts and doesn't try to lean on any side. The question is why did it lead you to the conclusion that corporations = capitalism so therefore capitalism =sucks? I think that's a very important question and I believe it's because you have been indoctrinated in the schools by leftist professors. Try to question authority once in awhile, you might learn something valuable. And I don't mean to offend, I want productive discussion

Statist: lol @ your continued insistence on usa being a direct democracy. lol @ your asking me to google Obama. lol @ endorsing the car industry fight against seat belts, lol @ suggesting the sweatshop worker made a valid choice in choosing to be subjugated when they're often children, lol @ "you have been indoctrinated in the schools by leftist professors" when i studied comp' science @ uni. lol @ suggesting BP's negligence didn't cause the spill. i'm not banging my head on the wall anymore

Me: Given up so early? I actually thought you had more to offer after that previous detailed response you gave. This just confirms my belief that you are an ignorant kid who prefers to point fingers. It is soooo easy to blame people as evil or greedy but hard to actually think rationally and independent of the leftist school system.

Me: Go on BOZ11, keep condemning the people who make available the stuff that you consume everyday. They who produce the gas that run your car, produce food you eat, water you drink, clothes you wear, appliances you use. Go ask the government to tax and regulate them, so that they will go bankrupt. And then YOU try to take their place and produce things. You think your so smart eh? You have the moral right to take their property eh? Well, think again cause your wrong!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Why We Forgive the State

While writing my previous essay about democracy, I thought about the reasons constituents of a democracy are so complacent and yield so much power to the politicians. The American war of independence, for example, started because of taxation. Modern states take far more than the taxes levied back then, yet not so much as a small protest is seen. Corruption, government abuse, lies are a regular feature of the news, yet only those immediately affected and a minority of conscious activists are seen on the streets. Everybody else is relegated to sitting at home, maybe share thoughts of concern, even crying but never putting up an active resistance. This is especially true in the Philippines. Only a few months ago did I read of the government exercise eminent domain in Navotas displacing more than 400 families. In the middle of typhoon Ondoy, President Arroyo was in New York and spending one million pesos in a high class restaurant. Of course there are severe injustices like the Ampatuan massacre with which most of us feel hatred and disgust for. But the fact remains, the majority of us prefer wallowing in grief back at home rather than actively oppose such abuse. Maybe it's because we are accustomed to constant degradation and insult. We prefer to close our eyes to the hurtful truth of our society. This is only part of it. The main reason we forgive state criminality is because we identify ourselves with it. We believe that we can change it and calmly await the next election so we can vote into office the 'right guy'. But this mentality is the most sick and murderous aspect of democracy.

Can We Control the State?

Consider the occurrence of crime. We are told to call the police when a burglar breaks into our house. Do you think this is the most practical thing to do when your house is being plundered? How will calling the police help to stop the expropriation of property? The poor delegate the task of educating children to the government. But to their immense regret when fresh graduates cannot find even entry level jobs. Same applies to health care. Having a Phil health card does not guarantee immediate health services in times of need. Education of children should be the responsibility of parents. Personal safety and health should be the responsibility of the individual. It is to the extent that we relegate our most vital needs to the government are we a more reckless and dependent people.

Business practices are no more different. Regulations to assure the safety of products only serve to add unnecessary costs that will be later transferred to the consumer. There is simply no way government can oversee all business activities. FDA regulations to assure the safety of drugs only keep new drugs out of the market. Bureaucrats, in their fight to keep bad drugs out of the market, have no problem restricting the best from coming in. Solid evidence suggests that FDA regulations kill more people than they save because patients cannot access the drugs that they need. Government mandated ceilings on executive salary in the United States resulted in the distribution of stock options to executives, tying their salary to the short-term value of stocks, creating an appetite for excess risk. An example closer to home is the constitutional restriction of foreigners from owning real estate. Restrictions on land ownership mean restrictions on direct investment by foreigners. This is not the case in neighboring countries and is a major reason why the Philippines has lagged so much in terms of economic performance. I cannot help but cringe when I hear environmentalists oppose foreign investment in Philippine mining, not wanting foreigners to 'exploit' our natural resources. I thought about how much good a foreign funded mining project could do for the nearby community. How many jobs could have been created, how many children could have reconsidered joining the NPA. Unfortunately, the majority cannot picture this, unable to imagine life without government interference.


As hard as it is to accept, government cannot protect you. Regulation sounds good, it gives the impression of safety from profit-seeking business. Yet, regulations are nothing but extra paperwork and fees, extra costs will inevitably hurt the consumer, and stifle competition as start-ups are hurt more than established firms. Regulations are based on the assumption that people are not capable of taking care of themselves and that bureaucrats (who stand to lose nothing if their policies should fail) somehow know better. If there is anything that should be regulated, it is the government. No matter how greedy a business firm is, you still have the choice of not patronizing it. Government does not give you any choice. It takes your money and forces you to buy its product. We should not wonder why government programs are so inefficient and wasteful. But as long as we believe we can control its behavior, we cannot effect genuine change. For democratic government is really lobby rule, only the special interests benefit, those that have political influence. Ordinary people are bamboozled and only stand to lose from this enterprise. The first step in changing the system is to realize that you cannot change it from the inside. This realization stops us from forgiving state criminality. And when we stop forgiving crime, we stop crime.

Friday, April 30, 2010

My Experience with State Indoctrination

Last semester I took a sociology class as part of the core curriculum of the university. I tried to be as open minded as possible. The topics covered throughout the semester included sexuality, poverty, social change, technology, consumerism and education. Notable theorists include Foucault, Marx, Comte, Hegel, Nietzsche and Neo-marxists such as Marcuse.

Prior to taking the class, I thought about questions outside of the sphere of economics to be answered. Such as why are Asians more sexually repressed than Westerners and why do we buy crappy products nowadays. Some of these questions were answered, some were not. My suspicion of the course grew the more topics we covered.

We started talking about culture and then about how people don't care about far away tragedies especially if people of a different culture and race are affected. Innocent enough. The sociological analysis on poverty was pretty useless. Poverty fulfills a function in society like assuring the existence of a rich class and doing the grunt work. I thought to myself 'What a useless and misleading statement!' Its like saying 'If there is no evil then there is no good.' But the readings were glossed with big words and long sentences to hide from common sense.

Next was the discussion on Marx which affirmed by presumption that the teacher was Marxist! When I commented about how socialism cannot work, she gave me a condescending look. Now I only had to find out if the course itself was Marxist. I lost a lot of respect for the course after the sexuality discussion. The argument was that we are sexually repressed because the bourgeois want us to be productive. If we are not repressed, they say, then we would not come to work and have sex all day. Sexual repression is an effect of Capitalism. OK, so what about alcohol, cigarette smoking, television, video games, sports. Man can waste his time on so many activities that are less strenuous than sex. The argument that Capitalism causes sexual repression is patently absurd! But this was just the tip of the iceberg.

Subsequent discussions involved theories that violate all common sense and delivered with ambiguous words. Theories like structuration theory which states that 'man is a structure that expresses participation in larger structures by acting his person' or that rationality is really irrational because people are like robots in a capitalist economy and science only validates knowledge that pass the test of rationality and therefore man's creativity is undermined. A very telling theory is one trying to explain the failure of the proletarians to achieve their historical goal of bringing down capitalism. It proves that these so called intellectuals are merely apologists for the state that try to make excuses for the failure of their system.

Modern sociology is just an orgy of pseudo-intellectual blabber, Marxist assumptions and force-packaged concepts. It is just a jungle of floating abstraction supported by vague definitions. Modern sociologists do not see social phenomena for what they really are in the concrete. Instead they look at it from a Marxist standpoint, assuming someone is being exploited in society and it is their job to fix it. For example, a sociologist sees employment as a conflict between the employer and the employee, with the employee being exploited by the rich employer. The non-propagandistic view is that the employee has voluntarily agreed to trade his services for money. The employee values the money more than the corresponding effort that he gives and the employer values the services more than the wage to be paid. Elementary economic theory teaches us that this inequality of valuations makes it possible for both parties to benefit. The political blinds of the sociologists prevent them from seeing this.

The field of sociology is nothing more than a byproduct of the state. The state, which primarily sustains itself by manipulating public opinion, monopolizes the intellectuals to legitimize itself and justify its failures. Same applies to Keynesian economists as well. Intellectuals are indispensable to the state as they justify otherwise unacceptable policies like invading other countries and nationalizing firms by trying to connect it to the 'common good' or 'public welfare'. The result is an ugly perversion of the original science that kills a person's ability to use common sense and intimidates him enough to submit to the alleged wisdom of the statists.

The Poverty of Democracy Part II: Monarchy vs Democracy

Given all the flaws of a democratic form of government, and in the quest to de-legitimize democracy, we must return to a question almost no one today asks, that of whether monarchy is better than democracy. The great Austrian scholar Hans Hermann Hoppe has made the comparison between monarchy and democracy in his book 'Democracy: The God That Failed', and the better system is undoubtedly monarchy. How can this be so? It seems that modern beliefs about democracy fall under the weight of fact and while I do not intend to paint a rosy picture of the 'old world', it was invariably better than what we have today when it comes to popular mindset and culture.

An objective view of history tells us that monarchy was a much more tolerable and limited form of government than democracy. Initially, this sounds absurd, how can the most centralized form of government be more lenient and allow for more liberty than democracy? But the reality is that the monarch's power was checked by tradition and the influence of the Church. If the monarch tries to abuse his power, his close relatives and great men of the realm will oppose him for his own sake through Magna Carta. If the monarch goes to far, he is excommunicated by the Church. The Church acting as a check to the power of the monarch is far more realistic and effective than checks and balances in a democracy. Taxation under monarchy for example was only about 10% whereas democracies take 40-50% of national income. This has to do with the source of revenue of those checks and balances. The Church gains revenue through voluntary donations while checks and balances in a democracy are just other branches of government. Hence, we have a situation of a government self-imposing regulations on itself, which is futile.

A commonly held belief is that a monarch is just a tyrant with a crown. This is not true. A monarch is trained from infancy for his role, respects tradition and the rule of law, with full knowledge that his power is did not come from his own ability. A democrat is the total opposite of this. One becomes a democrat through his ability to rally large crowds to his cause, often using propaganda and deceit. The democrat 'works' his way to the top through politics, assuming the role of savior of the people and is constantly subjected to its whims. Simply put, the difference is that a monarch can be humble while a democrat cannot.

Perhaps the most important distinction between a monarchy and a democracy is the mindset of the public and it is a phenomenon that is gravely ignored. Values that shaped monarchical societies were vastly different from those that shape democratic societies. The ideas that paved the way for democracy during the French revolution, equality, fraternity, and liberty must be carefully assessed lest society falls into chaos. Yes, popular sentiment was a reaction against growing abuse of a royal government, a cry for freedom. But what concept of freedom did the progenitors of democracy really have? Not a good one. Apparently, freedom for the democrats includes subsumes the ideal of equality and achieving so entails that everybody have the ability to enter into government. Whereas before people only paid attention to their own work, own personal concerns, they could now participate in the activities of a 'country'. They are sold into lies about 'the common good', 'public welfare', 'will of the majority' and so on. The fixation about the power of voting overshadows the fact that people were far better off without mass politics. Images of utopia fill the minds of the public. Life can be improved if only the right person were put in office. Personal responsibility is transferred to the politician and an entitlement mentality develops.

This must be contrasted with the popular mindset under monarchy. A hereditary monarchy eliminates grand ambitions of ordinary people climbing to the top of the political ladder. A monarch, unlike a politician, does not promise the amelioration of poverty or free education. People under a monarchical system do not dream about utopia, they do not develop the ambition of saving the world by handing over the fruits of their labor to the government. In short, democracy creates a political dimension in people's lives.

As the policies of democrats fail, effects of propaganda wear off and people are further impoverished, the state will provoke conflict among different groups by transferring the blame of failed policies or making new accusations. This creates new demand for more government intervention that will, in turn, fail. This process goes on until the people cannot imagine life without some kind of government service and views all social ills can be solved by the state. Augmenting this process of politicization are government schools made to indoctrinate and further the violence of the system. Political promises, engendering high expectations in the public, coupled with government schooling, promote the idea that society is something mechanical to be tinkered with. Everything, from education to health care to employment are viewed as rights to be given by the state. As more of human life become dependent on the state, its services are viewed to be indispensable. A popular mindset that results from humans being constantly provoked, deceived, and humiliated will in desperation be apathetic and confused. Those who are successfully indoctrinated by the state become professional state worshippers and work in the mainstream media networks or in academia. The driver for all this violence is that democratic leaders do not hold power for long and are subject to the whims of the masses and thus has to drain as much of the treasury as he can to pay the special interests and satiate moralistic demands. The monarch does not have this problem and his power is perfectly safe leaving the people alone.

A unique feature of democratic government is that the line separating the victims from the parasites is blurred. In monarchy there is a clear distinction and knowledge that the king has power to steal one's property. Democratic governments are not acknowledged as parasitic entities, they are even identified with the people. But to sustain this illusion requires expensive and socially poisonous mechanisms. Monopolization of the mint and the academy occurs. Monopolization of the mint by creating a central bank enables the state to print and borrow money instead of raising already high taxes. Monopolization of the academy enslaves the minds of children and turns them into unthinking, state-worshipping sheep.

Like most collectivist ideologies, and because ideal of equality is upheld, democratic governments always redistribute wealth. Professor Hoppe discusses the retarding effects of which in one of his essays:

"All redistribution, regardless of the criterion on which it is based, involves 'taking' from the original owners and/or producers (the 'havers' of something) and 'giving' to non-owners and non-producers (the 'non-havers' of something). The incentive to be an original owner or producer of the thing in question is reduced, and the incentive to be a non-owner and non-producer is raised. Accordingly, as a result of subsidizing individuals because they are poor, there will be more poverty. In subsidizing people because they are unemployed, more unemployment will be created. Supporting single mothers out of tax funds will lead to an increase in single motherhood, 'illegitimacy', and divorce. In outlawing child labor, income is transferred from families with children to childless persons (as a result of the legal restriction on the supply of labor, wage rates will rise). Accordingly, the birthrate will fall. On the other hand, by subsidizing the education of children, the opposite effect is created. Income is transferred from the childless and those with few children to those with many children. As a result the birthrate will increase. Yet then the value of children will again fall, and birthrates will decline as a result of the so-called Social Security System, for in subsidizing retirees (the old) out of taxes imposed on current income earners (the young), the institution of a family – the intergenerational bond between parents, grandparents, and children – is systematically weakened. The old need no longer rely on the assistance of their children if they have made no provision for their own old age, and the young (with typically less accumulated wealth) must support the old (with typically more accumulated wealth) rather than the other way around, as is typical within families. Parents' wish for children, and children's wish for parents will decline, family breakups and dysfunctional families will increase, and provisionary action – saving and capital formation – will fall, while consumption rises."

The same applies to crime, addiction, homosexuality, gender and animals. The economics of incentives are universal. Hoppe writes:

"In subsidizing the malingerers, the neurotics, the careless, the alcoholics, the drug addicts, the Aids-infected, and the physically and mentally 'challenged' through insurance regulation and compulsory health insurance, there will be more illness, malingering, neuroticism, carelessness, alcoholism, drug addiction, Aids infection, and physical and mental retardation. By forcing non-criminals, including the victims of crime, to pay for the imprisonment of criminals (rather than making criminals compensate their victims and pay the full cost of their own apprehension and incarceration), crime will increase. By forcing businessmen, through 'affirmative action' ('non-discrimination') programs, to employ more women, homosexuals, blacks, or other 'minorities' than they would like to, there will be more employed minorities, and fewer employers and fewer male, heterosexual, and white employment. By compelling private land owners to subsidize ('protect') 'endangered species' residing on their land through environmental legislation, there will be more and better-off animals, and fewer and worse-off humans."

Finally, the conclusion that democracy is worse than monarchy can be drawn simply from the premise that kings assume the role of owners whereas democrats assume the role of temporary caretakers of the state. Hoppe writes:

"Theoretically speaking, the transition from monarchy to democracy involves no more or less than a hereditary monopoly "owner" – the prince or king – being replaced by temporary and interchangeable – monopoly "caretakers" – presidents, prime ministers, and members of parliament. Both kings and presidents will produce bads, yet a king, because he "owns" the monopoly and may sell or bequeath it, will care about the repercussions of his actions on capital values. As the owner of the capital stock on "his" territory, the king will be comparatively future-oriented. In order to preserve or enhance the value of his property, he will exploit only moderately and calculatingly. In contrast, a temporary and interchangeable democratic caretaker does not own the country, but as long as he is in office he is permitted to use it to his advantage. He owns its current use but not its capital stock. This does not eliminate exploitation. Instead, it makes exploitation shortsighted (present-oriented) and uncalculated, i.e., carried out without regard for the value of the capital stock."


The transition from monarchy to democracy made humanity worse off. Monarchs or kings are, contrary to popular belief, not the same as tyrants. In fact, the background and sociological development of a tyrant, a life in politics, is very much different from how kings are brought up. Social institutions like the Church and tradition offer a more practical check on the kings power than those present in democracies. Some monarchs have even given up their thrones rather than hurt their subjects. The popular mindset of a people under a monarchical system is humbler and individualistic, as opposed to the ambition and vanity engendered in the culture of people under democratic states. This results from the added dimension of politics into the life of the citizenry. A culture of vanity and ambition is not so hard to predict in a system where leaders are chosen through a popularity contest. Sustaining the illusion of identity with the state, that what is good for the state is good for me, is very expensive and entails wasteful and oppressive programs such as fiat money, central banking and government schooling. Redistributive schemes under a system of democracy taxes responsible, productive and honest citizens and subsidizes the reckless, corrupt and lazy. Democratic leaders, assuming the role of temporary caretakers, do not own the state but only the its use. Hence, the capital value of the resource will be continuously diminished just as a renter of a bike will be more careless with the bike and extract as much pleasure as he can from it. Democracy is a ruthless and immoral system that promotes social retardation and economic stagnation. It is based on the ideal of egalitarianism which can never be accomplished and tantamount to the growth of state-worship and progression into a total state.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Agrarian Reform VS. Property and Civilization

An issue that attracts much concern and controversy among the public in the Philippines is Land Reform. Like most post-colonial nations, the Philippines suffers gross inequality of land ownership which originates from the feudalistic system set up by Western colonizers. Descendants of the colonizers, powerful families that are usually politically connected, now own large swaths of agricultural land tilled by the descendants of the peasants who were violently expropriated of the same land.

In an attempt to alleviate this injustice, leftists of all stripes call upon the ever reliant state. They create legislation that forcefully redistributes land from the haves to the have-nots, a move not uncommon to socialists. Groups under the Communist Party of the Philippines broker a bill that treats all landowners like criminals and takes their land title with little or any restitution. Social democrats, on the other hand, want something less radical. Opinion may differ when it comes to details; the size of landholdings required to be eligible for the program, or the compensation given to the landowner being expropriated. No matter which political group you ask, the consensus among them is clearly in support of legislation the bare minimum of which is to redistribute land from landowners to peasants without the consent of the former. A one-size-fits-all plan of government aggression applied to all who own more than a certain amount of land.

To the average Filipino news viewer, it would seem noble to support such cause. The average news viewer will support such program knowing that the peasants working for the landowners are the descendants of the real owners prior to colonial rule. Another probable motivation for supporting land reform is the appeal of 'equality', 'justice' and 'democracy' as cunningly promoted by the leftists since anything that is called 'democratic' these days suddenly become the height of morality. No doubt exists as to the problem of land theft and illegitimate ownership. The solutions, however, leave much to debate but are glossed over by blind political sentimentality and egalitarian motivations.

The original owners of the lands now concentrated in a few hands are most likely untraceable, but this does not give an excuse for politicians to target every large landholding just to alleviate an injustice done decades ago. Doing so will create more injustice by antagonizing formerly good relationships between land owners and workers. And workers definitely do not own land just because they are working on the land. It must be proven that property violation was done unto them or their ancestors. In other words, due process of law must be respected. Of course in this country the law is manipulated in favor of the elites. With that being the case, agrarian reform runs the risk of doing injustice to real owners while making illegitimate, politically-connected landlords escape.

It is important not to conflate land tenancy of a worker with the relationship of a lord and his serf. Tenancy comes about because of a voluntary trade between the lessee and the lessor. The landowner trades money in exchange for the services of the peasant farmer. The peasant farmer eventually builds a house near or at the land and becomes a lessee of the land. He does for the convenience of being near to his workplace. Tenancy may go on for several years but this does not in any way transfer ownership of the land from the lessor to the lessee. The tenancy was a manifestation of a voluntary trade. Hence, the landowner cannot be involuntarily obligated to give his land to the peasant farmer. In fact, the landowner should be complimented for not exercising his right to end the contractual relationship and leaving the peasant farmer without a job.

The leftists argue that land reform is necessary because the mass of the peasant farmers are poor and the landowners are usually very rich. With this argument put forth, the motivations behind land reform become clear. Land reform becomes not about fixing the problem of land theft, for this could easily and properly be done on a case to case basis through the court system, but addresses the problem of inequality. A legal problem is now turned into a political problem. But the argument from equality is very problematic as well. For one, agriculture is only one sector of the economy. There are Filipinos who are equally poor or even poorer in other areas. What are we to do with them? Two, if peasant farmers deserve the land of the landowners because they are the tillers, in other words, the ones who are productive, if that is the criterion accepted for legitimate ownership, then hired drivers should also own the car of their employer. Henri Sy's assets should be owned by SM mall employees. A domestic helper should have ownership over the house and the family who previously owned it should be kicked out. However absurd this is, it is the logical conclusion to the principles of equality. Equality is the ideological basis for the total state.

There exists both legitimate and illegitimate ownership of land in the Philippines. Illegitimate land should be solved on a case to case basis legally through the court system. Due process of law should be respected and applied. Both victims and illegitimate owners should be properly identified before appropriation of legal titles. Land reform does not respect the due process of law but is merely something to sell to the ignorant masses. The legislation is not concerned about legitimacy of property but of equality of property ownership. Hence, legitimate landowners are compromised and their rights violated. Violation of property rights are expected of legislation created by political groups whose ideology advocates the abolition of all property. Property which is privately owned and is the foundation of civilization. That said, land reform must be strongly opposed on moral grounds.